Two appointed state lawmakers take office

Indiana Statehouse
Indiana Statehouse (WISH Photo/ Marcie Mangan)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Two new state representatives were appointed by GOP party leaders after the election, but before the first day of the 2015 General Assembly. Tony Cook and Donna Schaibley were both sworn into office Tuesday.

Meantime, there will be efforts to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Cook replaces Eric Turner.

Turner won re-election in a contested race even though he said he wouldn’t serve another term in the General Assembly. That decision came too late to get Cook’s name on the ballot.

Schaibley replaces Steve Braun.

Braun was re-elected in an uncontested race after he accepted a position in the Pence Administration. Again, it was too late to substitute another candidate.

Cook is unphased by the circumstances that brought him to the Statehouse.

“I’m gonna work hard in that district,” said the Cicero Republican, “to represent them with a lot of character and integrity.”

But the House Speaker made a call for change even before the election.

“Hopefully there’ll be some change in that, some leeway for people who have announced that they are not going to serve after the election to be replaced on the ballot,” said Brian Bosma on Oct. 14th. “That would seem to be the fairest to voters.”

Donna Schaibley believes that’s a good idea.

“Well, I think ideally you want to come in on an election,” said the Carmel Republican. “I mean, you want to come in from the people electing you to office.”

But a key Republican, Kathy Richardson, says a solution will be hard to find.

“I think it’s very possible that it could happen again,” said Rep. Kathy Richardson (R-Noblesville.)

And in the meantime, Tony Cook and Donna Schaibley are full-fledged members of the Indiana House.

The deadline to remove a candidate’s name from the ballot is currently July 15th. The General Assembly will look at moving that date closer to the November election but it can’t be moved very far.

That’s because absentee ballots get sent out in September.

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